Cultural Series Make Art not War The Cats of Mirikitani

The Cats of Mirikitani

The Cats of Mirikitani

You are invited to First Parish UU Monthly Cultural Series, 923 Main Street, Fitchburg, downstairs, Sunday, Sept. 15 at 2 pm. This will be an informative film, with speaker Professor Elizabeth Gordon leading us in a discussion afterwards about the film, thoughts on social justice issue of homelessness. Learn from an artist who was homeless. See how Jimmy Marikitani saw the world leading up to 9/11 through his art.

Asian bites will be provided for refreshments.

Fitchburg Art Museum and CMAAC Farmers Market


Friends, Locavors, and Supporters of the Arts

Please join us at the “Art of Buying Local” Farmers’ Market
Fitchburg Art Museum
Thursday, July 11, 3 – 6:30 pm
25 Merriam Parkway, Fitchburg, MA

There will be fresh local fruits and vegetables, artisan bread, locally made soaps and lotions, local honey, fun activities for the kids, live music, locally made soy candles, photography and local artists, live cooking demos, free fresh salsa and more.

Mary Ellen Ryall, author of The Monarch Butterfly Coloring Book and My Name is Butterfly,
will be selling and signing her books and talk on importance of pollinators.

See the 78th Regional Exhibition of Art and Craft, one of the oldest exhibitions of its kind in New England. This special exhibition includes all medium of expression including painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, mixed-media, and crafts  (including jewelry and fiber art). The aim of this exhibit is to encourage, discover, support, and display the best regional talent.

Admission to the Farmers’ Market and Art Museum is FREE from 3 – 6:30 pm

Bring the whole family!

For more information contact:
Sheila Lumi
Market Manager

Natural Pollinator Habitat at Gateway Park

Fitchburg, MA

May 21, 2013

ImageSheila Lumi, Director, Central Massachusetts Art and Agriculture Coalition, came by The Sundial to pick me up this morning. She helped load three donated bags of good potting soil into her van. I wasn’t much help with a bad back. Next stop was Dunkin Donuts for much needed coffee.  I had my game plan for evaluating the Natural Pollinator Habitat. ImageWith camera in hand, I walked into the knee high clover.

White cabbage butterflies (Pieris oleracea) were flitting about. Easy to spot with dark spot on wings and dark tip on edge of wings. One landed on blue-violet blooming hairy vetch (Vicia villosa).  Black mustard plants and cabbage family are host plants. I am uncertain at this point if mustard plant is growing in habitat. I suspect so because the community gardens haven’t been planted yet. According to Live Science, researchers reported Sept. 5 in the journal PLoS ONE that black mustard gives off a specific scent when large cabbage white butterflies (Pieris brassicae), as they are called, lay eggs on it. This odor both repels other pregnant butterflies from laying more eggs on the plant and attracts two species of parasitic waspsTrichogramma brassicae and Cotesia glomerata. The wasps swoop in and attack the butterfly eggs and the caterpillars that have hatched from them, the researchers said. This defense mechanism prevents a colony of caterpillars from feasting on its leaves. (In return, the wasps parasitize, or live off, these eggs.) The study was led by Nina Fatouros, of Wageningen University in the Netherlands. Read the whole store at

 At least three yellow swallowtails were seen flying about. ImageTheir host plant is birch, cherry and other trees. Couldn’t tell what species of swallowtail because none were near where I was doing field work. Then I saw the smallest blue azule butterfly ever seen. It was smaller than the size of my little finger’s nail. Imagine that, so tiny.

ImageStephen Twining stopped by. He had suggested that a path be implemented to a lovely metal bench that is screwed into a cement base. Right now, it is inaccessible, unless you walk through knee high plants.  Sheila will network with her circles and see what she can come up with. She is thinking that a curved wood chip path would be a solution. Mowing a path might be less work. We found this out at Restored Remnant Tallgrass Prairie in Shell Lake, WI. All three of us agreed that the sound of water was a lovely feature here. A little later when I was alone at the habitat I heard lots of crickets singing. It was pure joy.

 Stephen and Sheila helped carry three 40 lb. bags of good topsoil to a location that was off the beaten path. It was there I planted three mounds of different species of sunflower. I wanted the site to have an annual native plant that would pop color and provide food for birds come fall and winter. I plan to go back after the sunflowers sprout and plant a squash ground cover in between the sunflowers. That way the leaves will shield sunflower roots. Climbing beans will be planted within the mix to add nitrogen to the soil.

I am very happy with the habitat. I did not see any invasive species within the site. Of course this is a preliminary look. I did see some native grasses and shrubs in clumps.  You know I will be back.


A New Natural Pollinator Habitat is Born

I am thrilled to share that Mary Ellen Ryall, Butterfly Woman Publishing owner and Happy Tonics, Inc. board member, will be offering environmental education programs at Gateway Park along the Nashua River in Fitchburg, MA. Shelia Lumi, director, Central Massachusetts Art and Agriculture Coalition, will work with Ryall in offering environmental projects and gardening talks at the park. There is a Community Garden within the park that Lumi will be in charge of. She is the director of the monthly local Fitchburg Farmers Market at Fitchburg Art Museum.

Both Lumi and Ryall are excited to collaborate on Environmental Education at Gateway Park in the summer of 2013. Stay tuned for more news.Image.

Tune into Blog/Radio Talkupy for a talk on butterflies with Mary Ellen Ryall

Monarch butterflies are being hit on all sides these days. Loss of habitat, climate change andnatural disasters are taking their toll on these and other beautiful pollinators. Thankfully, there are people watching out for them. Talkupy with Annie Lindstrom welcomes Mary Ellen Ryall, retiring Executive Director of Happy Tonics Inc., to the show on Tuesday, Feb. 26 at 11 a.m. Eastern Time. Mary Ellen is passionate about helping people learn how to create pollinator corridors in their own backyards. She will discuss the work she did at Happy Tonics’ teaching garden in Shell Lake, WI and her books on Monarchs. She also will talk about the wild butterflyand solitary bee nesting habitat she is creating in Fitchburg, MA. For more information, visit Mary Ellen’s Facebook page. For an expanded slide show go to Talkupy.netImage 

Learning through classes and a great teacher

I am taking a book marketing course from Rivka Kawano, New Media Design Studios. I got completely lost today trying to figure out how to make my Facebook page for Butterfly Woman Publishing easier to follow. 

Rivka came in and was able to make the changes. This will enable Blog visitors to follow and like my Facebook page at Hope this helps. 

Morgan Bailey is a fabulous Blogger from the UK. Her outstanding work is for writers. I can’t even keep up with her. She is so prolific. Get to know her. It will be worth it. Morgan is going somewhere and I’d hitch my pony to her Blog.

Morgen 'with an E' Bailey

The second of tonight’s guest blog posts is brought to you by multi-genre author and interviewee Terri Morgan.

My book on the library shelf

novelcover_1Playing the Genetic Lottery is my ninth book, but my first novel and my first self-published book. So for me, it’s very special, and I still get a thrill when I see the cover of my novel. I’m pleased to have it offered for sale in all four of the independent bookstores in Santa Cruz County, where I live. I’m so pleased, in fact, that when friends and family visit from out of town I usually take them to one or more of the bookstores so they can see my novel on the shelves.

I’m happy to say that so far my visitors have been excited to see my book for sale, or at least done a good job of pretending to. And now…

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International Book Review gives Monarch Butterfly Coloring Book Five Stars

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Educational Coloring Book about the Monarch Butterly,December 29, 2012

Cover design by Cindy Dyer

The Monarch Butterfly Coloring Book

This review is from: The Monarch Butterfly Coloring Book (Volume 1) (Paperback)

Mary Ellen Ryall’s delightful coloring book contains easy to read educational information, a glossary at the back, simple illustrations all about the majestic Monarch Butterfly. It is important to note this is not just a colouring book because it has been written with a great deal of love and passion for the continued survival of this species. If you know of any child who has an interest in nature or butterflies then make sure you give this inexpensive but value gift to them to treasure. It surely will give a new appreciation of this unique insect such as the Monarch Butterfly as it goes through its amazing transformation from a pupa to a beautiful winged butterfly.